For the past year, the nation has been captivated by the story surrounding former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. On Tuesday, Sandusky was officially sentenced after being convicted in June for abusing 10 boys during a 15 year period.
What many of the people following this case may not know is the story of a challenging year for a man and his family that have nothing to do with the case.
Gerry Sandusky is the long-time sports director for WBAL-TV in Baltimore, Md., and the current radio play-by-play guy for the Baltimore Ravens.
Many of The Vandalia Leader’s readers might remember me talking about my reunion with Gerry Sandusky in St. Louis when I took my son Isaiah to see a preseason St. Louis Rams game against the Baltimore Ravens. During my Junior year of college, I had an internship at WBAL-TV in the Sports Department and got to know Gerry really well. Through that experience, I’ve been fortunate enough to call this man my friend.
This is why my heart has ached so much to see what Gerry and his family have experienced during this past year.
In his blog posted at http://sanduskygroup.com/communications/lessons-learned-from-an-impossible-situation/, he pointed out several forms of persecution his family has battled through just because of his name.
“Because I have the name Gerry Sandusky, over the past year I’ve been called everything from a molester to a monster to a rapist. I’ve been invited to rot in hell, suffer torture, and die a slow, painful death. My children have faced ridicule; my wife has faced mockery. None of us are related to Jerry Sandusky, the convicted child molester.”
Soon after Jerry Sandusky was convicted, the Ravens’ Sandusky was in Pittsburgh for a Ravens game and met NBC’s sports broadcaster Dick Ebersol.
He said he put out his hand and said “Hi, I’m Gerry Sandusky” and Ebersole flinched.
Another time he was on vacation, his family checked into a hotel, and the front desk attendant asked him if he wanted to be checked in under an alias.
At the end of the day, Gerry Sandusky is an honorable man.
Some folks have asked him why he hasn’t changed his name?
His response relates to being honored to receive the name from his parents, which includes his father John that is a former NFL player and coach.
“My mother and father left me a great name when they died,” he told Ryan Mink of ‘The Caw.’ “I intend to do the same with my children. I believe in my name. I believe in my family. We’re not going to hide.”
His blog entry also includes important lessons he’s learned from this situation.
He also makes it clear that he is only experiencing inconvenience. The real victims are those who have been affected by the Penn State coach’s actions.
Readers can view an interview by ESPN’s Rick Reilly for more on the situation at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=8349120&categoryid=2378529.
I know St. Louis Cardinals’ fans are more concerned about their team right now in the MLB playoffs, but as a lifelong Baltimore Orioles fan, I’m absolutely pumped.
I can still remember sitting in the basement of my college dorm watching a big screen TV with the Orioles in the playoffs in 1997.
Never did I think this would be the last time I’d see an Orioles’ playoff game for the next 15 years. This recent playoff run has been special for me to share with my 4-year-old, in whom I’ve brainwashed just right to like my favorite team. My oldest child loves the Cardinals.
Here’s hoping for a battle of the birds in the World Series.